The becoming of ancestral land: Place and property in Mapuche land claims

by Piergiorgio Di Giminiani

Read Article

By Piergiorgio Di GiminianiFull

If Mapuche land claims in southern Chile reflect the incommensurability of local notions of place and the legal principles of property, they also reveal intersections between indigenous and legal ontologies of land. Property languages and technologies allow claimants to frame knowledge about ancestral territory in ways consistent with local significations of place as a sentient agent. Yet they also serve as mechanisms for codifying indigenous geographies in terms congruent with existing property regimes and market configuration. Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s notions of becoming, I argue that understanding ancestral land formation requires an anthropological imagination that acknowledges the conceptual antagonism of state and indigenous geographies as well as their intersections in claimants’ actions.